CIESIELSKI: Older Adults and their legacy of faith

November 26, 2019

November, with its celebration of All Saints and Thanksgiving, is the perfect month to remember those who have inspired or guided us to remain as faithful disciples of Jesus.

In addition to the communion of saints in heaven, there are those who have encouraged and supported us in our earthly journey.

For me personally, I recall with joy the relationships with all of my grandparents. They were all deeply devout Catholics. They were non-judgmental listeners who provided encouragement with their faith and kindness. Their loving attentiveness to me was rooted deeply in Christ, nourished by their frequent reception of the Eucharist and daily devotional prayer life, especially the Rosary.

More than anything, I gleaned from them an image of God who was approachable and desired my best.

At this time of year, the Office of Aging, in partnership with the three Senior Senates, honors at its annual recognition dinners those seniors who have demonstrated outstanding service to their parish communities.

November is also an ideal time to reflect and share with others what gives your life meaning. What beliefs and practices guide your daily choices? Which people have influenced and inspired you to make this world a better place? Sharing your stories provides a sense of who you are and helps others realize that you can identify with their joys and sorrows. It makes you more real to them.

During this season, take time to thank those people, living and deceased, who have made a difference in your life as a disciple of Jesus. Be intentional in creating the legacy that you want to pass on to others in building God’s Kingdom of love.

Recently I visited with seniors from three parishes: St. Leo the Great, St. Hyacinth and St. Paul the Apostle. I asked if they would respond to a few questions about their lived Catholic faith with the rest of the Archdiocese. I selected a handful of their responses for this article (at right) but want to thank all of the seniors who contributed. Their answers all reaffirmed that they navigated their way through life only with God’s help and the support of the saints, family and church members. 

Mark Ciesielski is an associate director in the Office of Aging Ministry.

Senior Talk

What is an important lesson that you have learned in life that you would like to pass on to future generations?

Elaine, 95: Stay close to God, be open and receptive to his guidance.
Kathleen, 76: As Jesus tells us, do all things with love.
Denise, 74: You are never too old to serve.
Mary, 74: Hang in there. God will keep you going; it gets better.
Cipriano, 79: The best present you can give your children is to love their mother.
Lucinda, 66: No matter how bad you think things are, “Let go and let God.”
Jeanne, 76: Remember words like “thank you;” be kind to people you meet.

How has your faith in Jesus Christ made a difference in your life?

Camelle, 77: It’s great to know that I have someone I can always go to.
Rosemary, 78: Knowing that Christ is with me through all my trials and tribulations.
Lucinda, 66: Prayer, prayer and prayer has saved me!

Who has inspired or encouraged you to live your Catholic faith? How?

Kathleen, 76: My mom and dad. Mom was a Catholic and dad was a Protestant; my maternal grandfather always gave glory to God. I would see him on his knees praying.
Alicia, 50: My paternal grandma’s faith, love and dedication. She used to pray at neighbors’ houses during Christmas, repeatedly praying the Rosary.
Rosemary, 78: Father Angelo was my mentor and taught me to forgive myself and trust in the Lord’s forgiveness.
Lucinda, 66: Some senior friends helped me return to the Catholic Church.